Ten years ago, RC
featured Josey Parks as one of the first handful of Young Guns for his
passionate pursuit of perfection as a roofing contractor and his ability
to think big. Even then, when much of the roofing industry was slowly
transitioning from paper to a digital profession, Parks, at age 25,
stood out as an active voice for embracing technology and adopting new
principles for sustained success.
While some resisted change and
rebuked his warnings of the tidal wave of tech to come — largely because
of his youth and inexperience — many, industry-wide, embraced the
enthusiasm. After achieving success focusing on metal roofing sales in
the residential market, Parks fused his passion for roofing with that
love for technology and began innovating independently.
the past decade, he’s started or purchased around a dozen different
companies within and outside the roofing industry; developed new digital
tools and launched new technology platforms for roofing contractors;
and was an early adopter of leveraging artificial intelligence to
enhance sales, marketing and overall operations. In 2024, he may be
forging into his most ambitious and impactful endeavors yet.
last year, Parks, CEO of J. Wales Enterprises — the umbrella
corporation he created for his various business ventures — again shook
up the roofing industry by purchasing Total Home Roofing. The
Florida-based national residential roofing contractor has been a
perennial RC Top 100 nominee and reported more than $134
million in revenue in 2022. Despite performing strongly in its multiple
markets, Parks said the company required some change, and he is now
handling day-to-day operations while overseeing the overhaul.
long after announcing that purchase, Parks and business partner Larry
Janesky bought Storm Ventures Group and its annual Win The Storm event.
The duo are planning a new, improved, two-day experience for roofing and
restoration contractors to level up their storm and retail roofing
businesses next month in Dallas.
RC slowed Parks down — just enough — to answer the following questions.
RC: For anyone who doesn’t know, how’d you get your start in roofing?
Knocking doors right out of high school; selling metal roofs
door-to-door. I only sold metal and tile for the first 15 years of my
roofing career. I saw the value in metal roofing … and comparing it to
other roofing systems, I felt like those were just inferior products I
didn’t want to offer. So I didn’t.
RC: Why did you move away from that into other business ventures?
My company was Metal Roofs of Texas, so it was hard to ever do another
product and really hard to ever grow out of Texas. Limiting myself by
product and geography, that was, you know, a big learning experience.
I did everything: I was sales; I was managing the crews; I was
inspecting the jobs. And then, I really figured out through trial and
error — way more errors — how to hire people. I mean really find the
RC: How did you develop that as a skill?
I used to hire people because they had a college degree, and I thought
they must be smarter than me. But I learned hard lessons that [it’s] not
the case. I tried to develop the ability to solve problems for that
role and duplicate that. I’d then find somebody that’s passionate about
that part of the business and let them go and solve the problem. That’s
really what it comes down to.
What I found I’m best at is asking
questions; seeking to learn and understand. And then finding people who
can bring solutions. That’s really my job; find the problem solvers, put
them in the right seats and develop the leaders in an organization
because you can only grow to the level of the leaders.
Company: Total Home Roofing; J. Wales Enterprises
Where’s Home? Naples, Fla
Preferred Social Media Tag/Contact Website: @JoseyParks
Young Gun Feature: March 2014
Family Status: Married (2013); four boys ages 1-9.
RC: Ever make mistakes with that?
Oh, yeah, early on, I was an idiot! I had no freaking clue what I was
doing. And it cost me millions and millions of dollars. But I’m thankful
for all those lessons. I learned that many people are in it for their
egos, and they’re not your amigos. They’re terrible for your company.
RC: Where does your entrepreneurial spirit come from?
I don’t have a clue where it comes from, but there’s something that
just drives me. And really, it’s a mission. I feel called for something.
I believe the blue-collar worker is the heart of America, and I want to
build a stronger America. My mission has always been to bridge
blue-collar to technology because I don’t want to see these big tech
companies come in and take our industry away. It should be us; we have
to be the ones that own it. I’ve always felt the need to build this
bridge for the roofing industry, and I just have a fearless side of me,
like I just don’t care. So I’m going to keep going.
In 2014, you were among the first class of nominated RC Young Guns —
roofers under 40 — making a difference in the industry. What did that
mean to you at the time, and how did it impact your career trajectory?
Coming from humble beginnings, it was really cool to have the early
success I did and be recognized for it. That recognition gave me more
confidence because it validated all the work I was putting in, and it
was cool to be recognized at a young age for my work ethic [and] for
thinking outside the box.
RC: Do you view your age as an asset or a disadvantage in this business?
People would tell me all the time they [had] a pair of boots older than
me and didn’t take me seriously. My attitude was to [remain] cool and
understand that I’m moving past them.
The reality is that I never
told people I was the company owner when I was out there, door-to-door,
because it didn’t really matter. I was a representative of a company,
giving them great value for a product or service they needed. That’s it.
RC: How has that perspective changed?
Now, I’d actually say that when people got to know me, I [gave] them
hope about what our future generation of roofers would be like. That was
something that [felt] really good. I feel like the roofing industry, as
a whole, accepted me and didn’t judge me because of my age. They
actually embraced it and celebrated it.
Josey Parks, pictured as an RC Young Gun in 2014
RC: What would you tell that Young Gun from 10 years ago today?
I’d say stay focused on the roofing industry. Stay focused on what you
love, what you’re good at, and what your strengths are. Don’t get into
businesses you don’t understand, and know that people aren’t going to
work like you or necessarily as hard as you. That’s a really big lesson.
RC: Why did you purchase Win The Storm, and what will roofers get from the experience?
In-person experiences are more important than ever, and I want roofers
to have a place for collaboration and innovation. We respond to
neighborhoods and homes at a time of weakness for most people, when they
are at their most vulnerable, and some people take advantage of that.
But there are a lot of roofers that take great care of people in those
situations, and the industry really needs us. I want everyone to learn
RC: So there’s a big-picture feel to this, more so than just hosting a successful event?
I see the roofing industry fragmenting more and more, and I feel I can
be the bridge. I can help roofing contractors doing retail understand
the storm market, and I can help the storm contractors better understand
the retail aspect of the business. That’s really important to me. Aside
from the collaboration among roofers there’s just going to be a high
level of professionalism there.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant strides recently in
the business world, but you’ve been integrating it into your workflow
for a while now. What are you working on?
I’ve said for many years that technology advances strategy. And once
you get AI into your business, it’s an unfair competitive advantage.
Truly. And I want to have that in my business if I’m competing in a
RC: How does it become an unfair advantage?
We have a tool that, by using AI, can predict how much each sales
representative will generate at each appointment. Then, we can use that
data to match the right rep who is most likely to close that sale to
take charge. We can see how much revenue they’re going to generate
tomorrow, like really seeing into the future.
I also have a
product on the marketing side. Once you get the lead, AI helps it
understand the type of buyer they are and automatically sends them
marketing messages designed to help them make a buying decision.
RC: What else are you looking forward to this year for roofing?
Aside from Win The Storm I’m not really sure yet, but I think this is
going to be a big year. A revolutionary year. I think there’s going to
be a massive movement with the trades taking shape in the country, and
we all need to be part of the change. Really preach to the world about
the opportunities in the trades and seize this moment to attract more
talented people into it. No one’s coming to save us.